Agriculture + Lifestyle
Promoting agriculture through education
Posted on March 4, 2020 7:00 PM
Georgia Farm Bureau is incredibly proud of the work done by its Women’s Leadership Committee, whose purpose is to promote agriculture through education and to expand participation in all phases of agriculture in order to build leadership and achieve a more effective organization.
We recently had the chance to sit down with Heather Cabe, the current chair of the Women’s Leadership Committee, to learn more about what drives her and the other members.
Born and raised on her grandparents’ cow-calf and broiler farm in Ila, Heather Cabe grew up surrounded by agriculture, but her love for the industry didn’t blossom until she became a young adult. Somewhere between driving the tractor and volunteering with Georgia Farm Bureau, Heather was lured in, her passion ignited.
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised on my grandparents cow-calf and broiler farm in Ila, Ga. My dad spent several years as an ABS field rep before he began managing an Angus seedstock operation, while my mom was a pharmacist but spent a good portion of my childhood exclusively on the farm. Even though I was surrounded by hard working farmers I didn’t grasp a love for agriculture until much later in life. I played softball through high school and college and soon after marrying my husband, Will, in 2010 realized what kind of relationship I would have with agriculture. After promising myself I would NEVER marry a “chicken farmer” I found God’s sense of humor ever present by sending me a man with more chicken houses than I grew up with as a child. Farming has this way of luring you in and making you love it if you let it have the slightest bit of opportunity and that is SO very true in my case. Beef cattle were the more intriguing they had ever been, driving a tractor during hay season became a goal and even the chicken houses didn’t seem so bad. I even remember calling my dad on several occasions to tell him this “new” revolutionary thing I had learned about cattle (only to hear him chuckle, because it had always been that way.
Tell us a little about Georgia Farm Bureau's Women's Leadership Committee.
The GFB Women’s Committee is maybe one of the most selfless groups of people I’ve ever found myself associated with. Each and every one of them takes a snippet of time out of their busy schedules and dedicates it to teaching people of all ages about agriculture. We push each other to try new things, learn from each others successes and failures and most of all find ways to share the importance of farming with the world around us. All in all, it’s the perfect avenue to interact with students, teachers, consumers and volunteers across the nation about where food, fuel and fiber originate straight from the farmers that spend their days providing these things.
What goals do you hope to accomplish during your tenure as committee chair?
I want to bridge the gap and rid of the stigma that comes with what has always been known as the “women’s committee”. This group of ladies works hard to add flavor to lessons on farming that are entertaining and educational for students, teachers and consumers. I feel like with young children of my own I have a unique perspective to bring to Ag in the Classroom efforts that I hope will encourage more young women to want to be involved with the Women’s Committee.
Why should other women want to get involved?
In my opinion, there is no better avenue for consumers to learn about where their food comes from than from the farmers that grow it. As women in agriculture, we have a unique opportunity to share our story from the farm in a way that connects with consumers on a personal level. Fellow moms, teachers and students find common ground with women on the farm and through education outreaches such as Ag in the Classroom we have an outlet that allows Georgia Farm Bureau ladies to invest their time into future generations.
How has your involvement grown in the Women's Leadership Committee and GFB as a whole?
My Father-in-law was Agency Manager at our county office at the time and so the love for GFB was strong in our family. He encouraged us to be as involved as we could with GFB because the future of our livelihood depended on us telling our story. So we found ourselves in the the YF&R program, then as county chairs, District 2 chairs and were later blessed to serve as GFB YF&R State Chair in 2016. I was convinced that this organization was somewhere we could find life-long friendships that were rooted in serving God through our efforts on the farm.
How have you become a stronger leader in your county and across the state because of your involvement with the Women’s Committee?
The Women’s Committee was the next step for me and because it pushed me to serve in as an individual has driven me outside of my comfort zone and caused me to find a leadership that I never knew I could posses. I am encouraged to ask teachers to allow me to come and interact with their students, excited to plan and host ag literacy events and most of all I am compelled to share what agriculture does for our generation and the ones to follow.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of your involvement with the Women’s Committee?
Nothing compares to seeing a child’s face light up when they taste something they previously said they didn’t like and changed their mind after a farm story and ag lesson. When a parent or teacher expresses their concerns over misleading agriculture facts and wants to engage in conversation takes this service to a whole other level. Being able to provide ag accurate information that immediately eases concerns along with interacting with students is definitely “my why” for involvement with the Women’s Committee.
From helping on the farm, to parenting, homeschooling your children and volunteering, how are you able to balance it all?
Being a part of a family farm means that I am blessed with the most incredible support system on the planet... seriously. Will’s parents are in walking distance on the farm and my parents are less than 30 minutes south still residing on the family farm where I grew up. Both sets of parents know first hand what it takes to raise a family on a working farm and I am so thankful they are as close as they are. Homeschooling and volunteering go hand in hand. The freedom that schooling at home allows goes directly into what I take to the classrooms that I visit. Time management will always be a struggle, but you have time for what you make time for and for now I’ll rely on a husband that turns tractor riding into Bible Story time, grandparents that always need extra little farm hands for chores and direction from the Good Lord to get it all done.